Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself!
I’ve been an English speaker for the better part of my life, and I’ve always found this language quite easy to learn and speak.
Now, when I’m saying “easy to learn and speak”, I don’t mean to say that nobody has any problems when learning and speaking in English. I’m only too well aware that millions of foreign English speakers just like me are struggling with English.
But guess what?
We’re struggling for all the wrong reasons!
We find it hard to learn and speak in English because we tend to use the wrong learning methods, we tend to over-analyze every single aspect of English from the grammar standpoint, and we focus too much on the irregularities of the language.
I mean – show me a language that doesn’t have any irregularities except for artificial ones such as Esperanto?
Any language on the planet has something unique about it, and the fact of the matter is that we can find all the reasons in the world why it’s very difficult to for us to learn English.
There’s irregular verbs, irregular nouns, thousands upon thousands of phrasal verbs, hundreds of grammar rules and exceptions to those rules, spelling irregularities – the list goes on and on, and if we choose to go with this perceived difficulty of the language, then I can’t see any reason why I couldn’t write an article called “Why English is the most difficult language on the planet to learn and speak”!
Except that I choose to look past those perceived difficulties which can all be easily overcome once you embrace contextual learning of the English language.
Instead, I choose to see how easy English is, so keep reading to find out why English is super-easy to learn and speak!
Also, please bear in mind that I’m not claiming that English is THE EASIEST language to learn. I’m not making any comparisons here, I’m merely going to list facts about English that illustrate how easy it is to learn and speak it.
Reason #1: English is a Gender-neutral Language
I think it’s really cool you can use any English noun and be 100% sure in the knowledge that you can’t possibly get anything wrong in relation to its gender simply because there’s none!
As you may already know, English nouns don’t come in specific genders – there is no such thing as Feminine, Masculine or Neutral Gender which makes it fairly easy to memorize and use any new English noun.
Reason #2: Verb Conjugation is Fairly Simple
Even if you hate irregular English verbs, you have to admit that it’s pretty simple to conjugate ANY verb for the respective person! The verb remains the same with the exception of the third person singular where it obtains an ending which is either “-s” or “-es” – it just can’t get any simpler than that!
And going back to irregular verbs – I won’t deny that it does take some work to get a handle on them, but you’ll be surprised to find out how many of them aren’t actually used in real life! The biggest part of the irregular verb table is mostly irrelevant for the average English user so don’t waste your time cramming them and then complaining that they’re too difficult to remember!
Reason #3: Noun Conjugation is Even Simpler!
When it comes to conjugating English nouns, pretty much the only thing you have to bear in mind is that the possessive case demands an apostrophe and the letter “s” attached at the end as in “Robby’s website”.
Other than that, ALL English nouns remain untouched whatever the grammatical case, and personally I find it really handy because you can rest assured that you can’t possibly get anything wrong when using a noun in a sentence.
Sure enough, you have to use the right prepositions (at, to, in, on, with, under etc.) which are indicative of the grammatical case in English, but to me it’s much easier than conjugating the actual noun!
Reason #4: There Are Only Two Types of Articles – Indefinite “A” or “An” and Definite “The”!
The only articles in use are the indefinite “a” or “an” and the definite “the”, and they are used with ALL English nouns. No exceptions here!
And for those of you complaining about how difficult it is to know when to use the definite, indefinite and zero article – let me tell you that this difficulty is just a perceived one.
In reality there’s a few simple rules governing the usage of English articles, and the rest can be learned contextually by way of learning English collocations and how words act in specific situations.
Reason #5: Almost Every Long Verb Has a Simple Version – Phrasal Verb!
Most people will think of phrasal verbs as a real pain in the neck, but I beg to differ!
You see – the things is that you just have to learn one verb and three of its different phrasal variations, for example, instead of learning three sophisticated English verbs.
Here’s an example – the phrasal verbs “put off”, “put out” and “put up with” will save you learning the following longer verbs “postpone”, “distinguish” and “tolerate”.
I won’t deny that a lot of people find it very difficult to memorize and use phrasal verbs because they all look similar, but then again – you won’t have such issues if you learn them contextually and only one phrasal verb at a time!
Reason #6: Conversationally You Can Do With Just One Grammar Tense
Not everyone realizes that there’s one English grammar tense that can be used to refer to pretty much any event from the Past, Present and Future thus making in really easy for any beginner English learner to speak.
What I’m referring to is the Present Progressive, and people use it all the time to talk about past events – “So, I’m DRIVING to work and then suddenly I’m RUNNING out of gas!” – ongoing actions – “I’m DRIVING to work right now, I can’t really talk!” – simple truths – “Normally I’m DRIVING to work with my colleague” – and future plans – “I’m not DRIVING to work on Monday because we’re GOING out Sunday night!”
Yes, I know that you’re going to start arguing in the comments section that every English grammar tense has it place and that using Present Progressive in all situations isn’t going to sound 100% correct.
Well – guess what? I never said you don’t have to use other tenses.
The point I’m making is – in the early stages of speaking in English students can do with Present Progressive and get away with it, and that’s what makes is quite easy to speak in English.
Reason #7: Using Nouns as Adjectives Allows to Simply Stick Words Together
Another little known English grammar feature that many people don’t give a conscious thought is the fact that you don’t have to apply the English Possessive case when describing the relation between two or more objects.
It’s “car engine” – not “car’s engine”.
“Fuel consumption” is actually correct instead of “fuel’s consumption”.
And if you said “government’s tax’s income” you’d be overcomplicating things big time – in reality it’s just “government tax income”.
And you see – for native English speakers this is just common sense and they wouldn’t see it as something special. For a foreign English speaker like me, on the other hand, this is just an amazing language feature allowing me to do away with all the analysis when describing objects and concepts!
In my native language, for instance, you can’t just stick nouns together and if I were to say the sentence “house window replacement costs” in Latvian, I’d have to conjugate every single noun except for the last one!
Reason #8: Charles Ogden’s Basic English Allows to Learn English in a Record-short Time!
When I was a little kid, my mom gave me this book called “Basic English” by Charles Kay Ogden and that’s how my journey into the world of English began.
In a nutshell, “Basic English” is a simplified version of the English language. Its vocabulary consists of 850 words and complicated nouns are all substituted with simple action words which makes it very easy for any English learner to learn and start using the language!
Sure enough, what the “Basic English” lacks is the idiomatic structure of real English, and one could argue that if you were to learn to speak in the way “Basic English” teaches you, your English would come across as unnatural.
Still, if one doesn’t aspire to become a native-like English speaker and only wants to use the language for basic communication, “Basic English” is another reason why this language is very easy to learn!
Reason #9: 60% of English Vocab Comes From French and Latin!
If you don’t speak any European language, this fact would be of little importance to you, but you simply can’t deny the fact that there’s millions of people out there that speak languages English has heavily borrowed from!
One of my Fluency Star students from Italy, for instance, finds it very easy to learn all those fancy English terms for the simple reason that many of them originate from Latin which, as we all know, is the predecessor to the modern Italian language.
Same can be said about French which has also contributed to English big time, and if you happen to be a French person trying to learn English, the task of building your vocabulary is going to be so much easier for you!
Reason #10: Plenty of English Worlds Have Become International!
The simple fact of the matter is that English has also contributed heavily to pretty much every language in the word by way of international vocabulary which is especially prevalent in the fields of business, technology, and social sciences – to name but a few.
My own language is riddled with English loanwords starting from “management” and ending with “computer” and I would imagine your language is no different!
And I’m not just referring to European languages here – EVERY language in the world has borrowed from English, here’s just a few examples:
- Japanese: “bijinesu ビジネス” – “business”
- Arabic: “tiknulu Z yaa تكنولوجيا” – “technology”
- Hindi: “स्कूल” – “school”
So, the simple conclusion we can draw is that whatever your native language, you will always have a head-start in English simply because there’s plenty of English words that you’ll be familiar with!
Reason #11: Most English Words Act as Both Noun and a Verb!
This is something you would have realized by now, but it could very well be that you haven’t given it a conscious thought!
But if you think about it, just about ANY English word acts as both noun and a verb, and what it means to you as an English student is that you don’t have to learn two words to describe both the object and the associated activity!
Let’s pick a random English word, let’s say… the word “head”, right? Now, we all have a head on our shoulders, but sometimes some of us might be in a position to head a meeting, for instance, in which case the noun “head” becomes a verb “to head” meaning to “oversee”, to “supervise”.
Another example – the word “shoulder”. Obviously, it’s another body part we have, right? But did you know that you can easily use the very same word to describe the activity when you push against something using your shoulders? Here’s a typical way of describing someone making their way through a thick crowd: “He shouldered his way through the crowd…” Handy, isn’t it? You don’t have to look for a relevant verb because the very noun “shoulder” acts as a verb here!
I could keep citing such and similar examples till the cows come home, but suffice it to say that this English language feature is really cool because it does away with the need to learn additional vocabulary! In my language, for instance, nouns never act as verbs and you have to learn various verbs associated with certain concepts which does make it harder to learn the language.
If You Believe English is a Difficult Language to Learn – Well, Keep Thinking That Way!
If you do a simple Google search for the term “Why English is easy to learn?”, surprisingly enough most of the search results return articles focusing on the perceived DIFFICULTIES of the English language…
When I looked into it, the following picture was revealed.
Most of those who claim English is difficult, are native English speaking teachers and linguists, and they look at it from the following perspective:
“Look, you can learn to speak in English easily, but then you’ll spend an eternity mastering the language because there’s SO MUCH to it! There’s massive, scary English grammar books and dictionaries and there’s no chance in hell you’ll master every intricacy of the language during your lifetime…”
Well, here’s why I have a problem with that.
If we go with this super-high academic standard, complete English fluency and absolute mastery of the language is unattainable by 90% of the native English speaking population.
And I would like to see an average person who’s not involved in linguistics or some other academic language discipline knowing their own native language inside out.
Common people – we’re talking about learning and using the language in real life here – not about studying and dissecting the language under a microscope!
And just like I said in the beginning of this article – you can always focus on the negatives and prove why English is the hardest language in the world to learn.
Some people, for example, will use arguments such as “English has the largest vocab and there’s simply too many words to learn” which I think is a completely nonsensical argument.
I mean – does anyone really believe that a huge, enormous vocabulary of Biblical proportions is what makes an English student fluent?
After all the years or pursuing the same unattainable language standards and still not being fluent, I’ve realized that what makes one fluent is the ability to understand others and make your point in a natural and easy-to-understand manner.
It’s not about building a massive, 100 thousand word large English vocabulary.
It’s not about learning every single English grammar rule out there.
Yes, if you go down that road, you’ll find it very difficult to wrap your head around it all – just like I did all those years ago when I was trying to learn every English grammar rule under the Sun and then apply it all as I was speaking.
Now that I’ve stopped being focused on the insignificant details, I find it so much easier to keep using and improving my English, and there’s no reason why you couldn’t do the same!
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!